William & Mary has unveiled plans for a Kaplan Arena renovation, with the overhaul part of a larger facilities project that includes a new Sports Performance Center.
The $57-million project will transform the game-day experience for the entire William & Mary community, advance excellence in all 23 varsity sports programs and enhance the university’s facilities — priorities outlined in Athletics’ new strategic plan. Approximately $41 million has been committed to date through philanthropy and other sources. The majority of funds have been provided by leadership gifts from Katie Garrett Boehly ’95 and Todd Boehly ’96, as well as Jennifer Tepper Mackesy ’91 and D. Scott Mackesy ’91.
“Katie, Todd, Jen and Scott helped us take the long view in this exciting initiative. We are grateful for their generosity and vision,” said President Katherine Rowe. “The complex will stand as a symbol of excellence. It highlights the university’s commitment to athletics as an integral part of the learning experience.”
“The Boehlys and Mackesys fully understand the value of investing in the whole student experience. Kaplan Arena is a crossroads for campus and community. This renovation will help grow the sense of community in and around our campus and strengthens our national reputation,” Rowe added.
The project aims to greatly improve the game-day atmosphere for fans, particularly season ticket holders. According to the Director of Athletics Samantha K. Huge, “there will be a very noticeable difference in the way fans can participate in the sporting events as they cheer on the Tribe. The renovation underscores Athletics’ commitment to providing an immersive and interactive fan experience, increasing game-day attendance and adding to the breadth and depth of opportunities offered to the entire William & Mary community at the arena.”
The complex encompasses Kaplan Arena, a new Sports Performance Center adjacent to the arena, the Millie West Tennis Facility, Busch Field and the Tribe Field Hockey Center. The project will include approximately 167,000 square feet of renovated and new spaces. Construction is expected to begin in fall 2020 and conclude in fall 2022.
“We have so much to be proud of as part of the William & Mary community,” said Katie Boehly. “Once complete, the complex will underscore the university’s commitment to being recognized for its academics and athletics.”
“Athletics is an integral part of the educational experience at William & Mary,” said Todd Boehly, alumnus and former member of the Tribe’s wrestling team. “Transforming this space for students, coaches and fans reflects the university’s commitment to advancing student-athlete opportunities and winning together as a community.”
Kaplan Arena first opened its doors in 1971 and has since been the home to William & Mary Athletics. The men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and gymnastics teams have competed in the arena for decades. All of William & Mary’s nearly 500 student-athletes utilize the locker rooms, strength and conditioning and sports medicine facilities.
The overhaul will include a new entrance and lobby, an enhanced student section with a lounge that all students can use throughout the year, upgraded spectator seating, premium hospitality areas, a courtside club exclusively for courtside seat holders, concourse club seating as well as a new academic center. The project also includes a state-of-the-art score board and ribbon boards featuring video replay capabilities and new sound system, improvements to concession stands, bathrooms and locker rooms, among other priority areas. The arena will remain open during its renovation.
The 36,000-square-foot, multi-use Sports Performance Center will feature a strength and conditioning area, including two hydro-therapy pools, and a sports medicine space with ample room to evaluate and treat sports injuries. The center will also provide the basketball and volleyball teams with a new practice area housing a full-sized court.
“A central tenet of our philanthropy is to support the pursuit of excellence and this project underscores our enthusiasm for the future of William & Mary Athletics,” said Scott Mackesy. Scott and Jen Mackesy were both student-athletes at William & Mary. A two-time CAA Player of the Year, Scott was named to the tennis league’s Silver Anniversary squad as one of the all-time top 25 players in league history. Jen made four appearances in the NCAA Championships in her time with the women’s soccer program from 1987 to 1990.
As stated in the Athletics’ strategic plan, the infrastructure of the Millie West Tennis Facility courts needs to be enhanced to improve the player experience. Additional funds will be allocated to the resurfacing and stabilization of current courts, the addition of new courts and installation of upgraded fan seating.
The Dillard Practice Facility — currently utilized by the soccer and lacrosse teams — will also be enhanced and expanded from funds committed by the Mackesys. The facility will see a new turf practice field and improvements to the grass field.
“We have incredible student-athletes, coaches and fans at William & Mary. We recognize the important role that private support plays in our teams’ ability to compete at the highest level,” said Jen Mackesy. “We hope this gift will energize our amazing fans by enhancing their experience, further contributing to the success of William & Mary Athletics.”
“The Athletics Complex will serve as a beacon for those who want to come to William & Mary to achieve their full potential as a competitor and will be a point of pride for the broader university community,” said Huge. “We are boldly moving forward with the priorities set forth in our strategic plan and helping all of our student athletes flourish. We are all very thankful to the Boehlys and Mackesys for bringing entrepreneurial thinking to this effort and for lending their vision to Athletics.”
Huge added that Kaplan Arena has long been considered the heartbeat of Athletics and central to every student’s William & Mary experience — hosting events such as Charter Day, Commencement, musical performances, forums on global issues and competitions.
“It is a place where student-athletes meet with coaches, academic support staff and administrators,” she said. “It is where they come to train and get stronger. Every recruit walks through the arena. It informs the impression others have of the athletics programs — and of the value the entire university community places on athletics.”
Gifts to the project will propel the university closer to its $1 billion goal as part of the For the Bold campaign. To date, more than $960 million has been raised. The Boehlys and Mackesys have supported William & Mary throughout the campaign. Todd and Katie, for example, created the Boehly Center for Excellence in Finance at the Raymond A. Mason School of Business and sponsor the annual Women’s Stock Pitch and Leadership Summit. Jen and Scott have funded coaching endowments and squash courts and support the Fund for William & Mary as well as the Global Research Institute and business school.
William & Mary has partnered with Mosely and HNTB architects as well as DPR Construction on the project.
Renderings via W&M Athletics.